I am very sad that Oprah’s daily show is officially over this week. But I’m especially sad because today would have been a GREAT day to cover this Chicago rooted story. It’s just amazing. It’s involves a guy who was drafted in the sixth round by the Chicago Bears last month. His name is JT Thomas. He’s 22 years old and what he did recently has nothing to do with football.
Turns out JT Thomas has a little brother named Jared. Jared is 7 and suffers from autism. Jared goes to grade school in West Virginia, where big brother JT Thomas originally played football for West Virginia University. Everyday little Jared rides a school bus. On that school bus is a 14 year old girl named Joslyn Levell. Joslyn suffers from spina bifada.
Apparently, the school bus driver found out that Joslyn was a Chicago Bears fan.
So the driver decided to ask JT Thomas if one day, he could do a meet and greet with the kids on the bus. JT obliged and it just so happened that on the day that he met Joslyn and probably asked how she was, she actually said she had a bad week. Turns out Joslyn’s Grade 8 prom dance was coming up. Joslyn, who spends most of her time in a wheelchair, asked some of the boys in her class if they would go to the dance with her. They all said no.
JT Thomas said, “I hugged her and signed a few things and we talked for awhile and she cried a bit. I gave her a hug and told her everything would work itself out.”
But JT didn’t stop there. JT Thomas asked his stepmother to check with the school to see if it was okay if he could take Joslyn to her school dance! The school called Joslyn’s parents. The school and Joslyns’ parents both gave their approval. JT said he was nervous at that point. He said what if he called Joslyn and she already had a date? So cute. So humble.
On the night of the prom dance, JT turned up at Joslyn’s house in a black Chrysler. He gave Joslyn a corsage and roses.
When they arrived at the dance together, all the kids were naturally shocked.
In fact, Joslyn said that one of the boys who was mean to her came up to her and apologized afterwards saying, ‘I’m sorry that I didn’t believe you.’
But again, Thomas exhibited incredible humility.
When asked afterwards, he said, “This was Joslyn’s night. It wasn’t about me.”
Maybe 22 year old JT Thomas would have been the same thoughtful, caring human being that he was without his little brother but I somehow thing that having a 7 year old autistic sibling showed a very talented football player what his true gift might really be. A simple act that made a huge difference to not only to a 14 year old girl with spina bifada but to many, I hope, who hear of his story.
Thanks to 14 year old Joslyn Levell, especially. In spite of a wheel chair and a challenge that might make most of us hide in our house, a brave 14 year old summed up her courage ( even probably knowing what the response might be) and asked someone in her class to go to a prom dance with her. He said no, as did others but what happened as result of Joslyn’s strength is lesson for all of us.